Long admired for the carefully chosen cover versions of songs that have been part of their repertoire from the very beginning, Cowboy Junkies will release Songs of the Recollection on March 25 on Proper Records, consisting of nine covers both newly recorded and curated from previous album projects.
Saying the Junkies “cover” songs doesn’t quite do them justice. Like greats from the classic pop standards era, the Junkies interpret the music of others. They embrace the songs, adapting them in their own style.
This inspired, and inspiring, collection features tracks from David Bowie, Neil Young, Gram Parsons, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Vic Chesnutt and The Cure.
Michael Timmins recalls, “Long before we were musicians, we were music fans. We didn't grow up sitting around the kitchen table playing instruments and harmonizing. We grew up sitting around the record player listening to each other's record collections and having our minds blown. This was the passion that we shared. Our goal has always been to create music that took hold of the listener the way that this music took hold of us. These are some of the songs and some of the artists that found their way into our lives and eventually into our repertoire over the past fifty years.”
Formed in Toronto in 1985, with siblings Michael Timmins on guitar, Margo Timmins on vocals, Peter Timmins on drums, and Michael’s lifelong friend Alan Anton on bass, the band was an odd fit for the era. In the days of hair metal and rock bombast, the Junkies’ music seemed to spread like a whispered secret. Those who heard it, never forgot it.
In a way, Songs of Recollection takes the quartet back to its roots. While the group is known primarily for its original songs, since the band’s beginnings Cowboy Junkies have always offered up favorites by other artists.
Except for one original, and a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper,” the band’s 1986 debut album, White Off Earth Now, was made up entirely of songs by great blues artists. When the Junkies broke through to the mainstream with the follow-up album, The Trinity Session, it was the group’s moody rendition of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane” that immediately caught the ears of college radio.
In the following years, the group included cover songs on nearly all of their releases, recorded an entire album of songs by the darkly evocative songwriting great Vic Chesnutt, and released two volumes of ’Neath Your Covers series, comprised of songs by other artists.
Songs of the Recollection track-listing, with writing credits:
1. Five Years – David Bowie
2. Ooh Las Vegas - Gram Parsons
3. No Expectations - Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
4. Don't Let It Bring You Down – Neil Young
5. Love In Mind – Neil Young
6. The Way I Feel - Gordon Lightfoot
7. I've Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You – Bob Dylan
8. Marathon - Vic Chesnutt
9. Seventeen Seconds - Laurence Andrew Tolhurst (The Cure)